Washington's 5th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Washington's 5th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
August 7, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Cathy McMorris Rodgers Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Cathy McMorris Rodgers Republican Party
Cathy McMorris Rodgers.jpg

Washington U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Washington.png
The 5th Congressional District of Washington held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) won re-election.[1]

This is the 5th Congressional District prior to the 2012 redistricting.
Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
May 18, 2012
August 7, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Washington has a top-two primary system, in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, go on to the general election.[2]

Voter registration: Voters were required to register to vote in the primary by July 9, 2012, or July 30, 2012 in-person for first-time voters.[3] For the general election, voter registration deadlines were October 9, 2012, and October 28, 2012 for first-time voters.[3]

See also: Washington elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), who was first elected to the House in 2004.

This was the first election which used new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Washington's 5th Congressional District is located in the eastern portion of the state, and includes Pend Orelle, Stevens, Ferry, Lincoln, Spokane, Whitman, Asotin, Garfield, Whitman, Columbia, and Walla Walla counties.[4]


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party Rich Cowan
Republican Party Cathy McMorris Rodgers Green check mark transparent.png

August 7, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic candidates

Republican Party Republican candidates

Independent Third party candidates

Election results

General election

U.S. House, Washington District 5 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngCathy McMorris Rodgers Incumbent 61.9% 191,066
     Democratic Rich Cowan 38.1% 117,512
Total Votes 308,578
Source: Washington Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


Washington's top-two primary system meant voters choose from the full field of candidates on August 7, and the top two vote-getters went on to the general election, regardless of their party.

After the Democratic Party's favorite did not make it past the primary in 2010, party officials made a strong effort to ensure Rich Cowan was the only Democrat on the primary ticket in 2012.[6]

Randall Yearout, a Republican challenger, said he is the only candidate who would pursue a "constitutional remedy" for the fact "that the federal government has grown too big for its britches."[6] Independent Ian Moody said he would "fight back when government encroaches on citizens' rights."[6]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Washington

Washington gained a congressional seat following the 2010 Census, bringing its total up to 10. The newly redrawn 5th covers the eastern boundary of the state, from Canada to the Columbia. It includes Walla Walla and Spokane.[7]

The 5th District was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed entirely of voters of the old 5th District.[8][9]

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Washington's 5th District became more Republican because of redistricting.[10]

  • 2012: 44D / 56R
  • 2010: 43D / 57R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measured each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Washington's 5th Congressional District had a PVI of R+6, which was the 155th most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by John McCain (R), 53-47 percent over Barack Obama (D). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 58-42 percent over John Kerry (D).[11]

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 2, 2010, Cathy McMorris Rodgers won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating Daryl Romeyn (D).[12]

U.S. House of Representatives General Election, Washington, Congressional District 5, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngCathy McMorris Rodgers Incumbent 63.7% 177,235
     Democratic Daryl Romeyn 36.3% 101,146
Total Votes 278,381

See also